Study of ethics doesn’t need outsiders, lawmakers say

Throughout this legislative session, which is about to come to an end, the topic of additional ethics legislation – specifically, a ban or cap on gifts that lawmakers can receive — has been the unwanted guest at the dinner party.

A guest who had already been shown the door – and this morning was kicked to the curb.

Expectations had already been reduced to a simple study committee contained in SR 1220, introduced by a lone sponsor, state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus. From his legislation:

….there is created the Senate Study Committee on Georgia Ethics and Accountability to be composed of nine members to be appointed by the President of the Senate as follows: five members of the Senate and four members of the Georgia Alliance for Ethics Reform. The President of the Senate shall designate one of the appointees to serve as chairperson of the committee. The chairperson shall call all meetings of the committee.

This morning, the Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Don Balfour, R-Snellville, made a few changes to McKoon’s legislation. It eliminated civilians, and named seven senators to populate the study committee. None of them were named McKoon.

They were: Balfour; Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga; President pro tem Tommy Williams, R-Lyons; John Crosby, R-Tifton; George Hooks, D-Americus; Johnny Grant, R-Milledgeville; and Renee Unterman, R-Buford.

“We wanted senior members of the Legislature to be on it, and we put a number of Democrats and a number of Republicans,” Balfour said.

And why eliminate good-government civilians from a study committee? “The rules committee didn’t think there was a reason to put outside members on it,” the chairman said.

And will the study committee be active? “Oh, I think so. We wouldn’t pass [SR 1220] otherwise,” Balfour said.

McKoon was circumspect. “It is true that I’m not on the study committee that has been proposed by Senate Bill 1220,” he told reporters. But he declined to comment further on the rules committee’s decision.

“I think you’re going to see a broader discussion of this issue – not just here at the General Assembly, but within the Republican party here in this state. I think a lot of our folks who elect us to the General Assembly are concerned about this issue,” McKoon said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

40 comments Add your comment

Todd

March 27th, 2012
3:19 pm

Time to clean house. They are all crooks!

Interesting

March 27th, 2012
3:26 pm

Love the transparency

Look before I leap...

March 27th, 2012
3:26 pm

Well I suppose “1″ is in actuality a number.
So having a single Democrat counts as having a number of Democrats on the study committee.

And didn’t Balfour just get tagged for filing false mileage reimbursement claims?

Fox, meet hen house and never fear, farmer John is not only out of ammo, he is out of town.

Marlboro Man

March 27th, 2012
3:41 pm

Balfour appears to be paid for.

sheepdawg

March 27th, 2012
3:45 pm

this story is laughable, and so typical of the georgia legislature….whoever votes for these bottom dwellers should be exposed as idiots in their hometown newpaper

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 27th, 2012
3:46 pm

Look, you might not LIKE California…or even most other states, but the citizens referendum is a vital necessity when you have a legislature that is as corrupt as ours is.

Now that segregation is over, terror at what citizens might do by the legislature is now a thing of the past and should be put into law here.

A powerful single issue PAC, just like the Sunday Alcohol Sales, should attempt to push for it, which would also allow for many needed reform, like ballot access for third parties, judicial overview of renegade party apparatus etc.

If you’re worried about California it isn’t THAT hard to also say that any referendum that requires spending also include how it will be paid for in the amendment.

Out of control legislatures need to be brought under control. Because unfortunately, we live in a Republic, not a Democracy. And in Georgia, it shows.

sheepdawg

March 27th, 2012
3:46 pm

…add chip rogers to the list

GaBlue

March 27th, 2012
3:47 pm

Right? What’s up with this Balfour guy? Not that these buzzards actually honor their oaths of office, but did he take a completely different oath to somebody that doesn’t even live in this state? This guy is more trouble than snakes on a mother fracking plane!

Ashley Dawson

March 27th, 2012
4:03 pm

Its civilians who keep you fork-tongued politicians in office. Politicians policing their own….didn’t see that coming.

Fred

March 27th, 2012
4:06 pm

Very sad. This is exactly the type of issue that needs some outside involvement and perspective.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 27th, 2012
4:13 pm

Civilians are largely incapable of sufficiently organizing to stop them. They are mostly distracted by whatever Squirrel that comes along, and the only exception seems to be the Tea Party and Occupy.

Occupy has been crushed and subsequently marginalized and the Tea Party has been coopted, fractured and dissected to the point that the only ones with any REAL power are most certainly NOT civilians but part of the Kochtipus.

Todd

March 27th, 2012
4:14 pm

Rogers is the biggest crook in Atlanta. I think I’ll ask the bank to cut my mortgage in half the week.

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
4:15 pm

Hye Jim….did Newt still fumble his handling? i would say maybe Obama has fumbled it with his comments without knowing the whole truths plus his selling of hoodies for his campaign.

Jim?….Jimbo????

Trayvons Mom

March 27th, 2012
4:18 pm

Wassup playas?Just wanted to say Trayvons name been trademarked and skittles is thing of payingf us millions to name a candy after him. At least his name will not go down in vain. Also, none of the stuff the police is saying is true. He was holding that pipe for a friend….as well as the stolen bags of jewelry and he was not suspended but ona sabbaitcal.

Also, he never hit no one before this. pimp hand is strong enough where he does not need to fight.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 27th, 2012
4:19 pm

Hey Phil, remember when you were proven to be totally ignorant about EVERYTHING Rush was saying about Sandra Fluke and then hit the reset button and started saying the same thing and now you’re obsessed about Obama when the article is about the Republican State Legislature…single minded and obsessed much Philby?….remember when you got proven a one note kazoo Philby?

Phil?…Philby?

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 27th, 2012
4:21 pm

@Trayvon’s Mom – Yes indeed. Thank you for justifying on some level all of the truly disgusting comments made by the neotrogledytes in this state. For we all know, much like the family of the late Mr. King, that it is far more important to make $$$$ off a tragedy than do good by it.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 27th, 2012
4:22 pm

Oh and, given the ignorance of the rest of the comment, that looks like a Phil Puppet….there was no pipe, there were no stolen jewels, and Zimmerman was the felon, not Trayvon.

greg

March 27th, 2012
4:24 pm

The only entities these crooks listen to are big business, insurance, road builders etc., they collect money to recycle tires, goes to general fund, collect fees to recycle batteries goes to general fund, they collect money from crooked banks for people that ripped off on mortgages and it goes to general fund. Liars, cheats and thieves. I agree time for Ga referendum laws.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 27th, 2012
4:29 pm

It’s a win win!

We’ll get some sane ones (like it is illegal to actually shamelessly bribe our legislators, they need to hide the money by giving it to family members in friends like in every other state) and some hilarious ones like our own version of Noah’s Ark Land paid for by Tax Payer $$$ and a State Constitutional Declaration that Science is only a Theory.

Trayvons Mom

March 27th, 2012
4:46 pm

Aaron Burr are you going to buy a Trayvon t short officially trademarked or not?

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
4:47 pm

I was wrong about Rush jokingly calling an activist a sluut? ummmmkay….

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
4:48 pm

I am a one note kazooo playing the note of truth in a world of ignorance. Obama is playing the recorder and all I hear is the brown note (Southpark ref.)

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
4:49 pm

I think ethics and politics are pretty much absent one another. Have you seen the SOlyndra deal?

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
4:50 pm

No pipe? No jewelry…maybe not when he was shot, but was he not suspended for a pipe and residued bag? I am merely stating ow jimbo and others have portrayed this whole affair as a racial murder.

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
4:51 pm

Housing at all time low, so lets bring out a race war!

Dont worry medvedev once he is reelected he will throw down all weapons and join you in your quest for communism.

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
4:52 pm

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
4:54 pm

I hear spike lee tweeted out Zimmermans address. Stay classy Spike. Oops…he tweeted out the wrong address!

I hear that Trayvons parents are testifying on Capital hill….AWESOME!

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
4:56 pm

Sad when we are more upset about an NFL bounty then the bounty put out ona US Citizen

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 27th, 2012
5:06 pm

@Phil – Verbosity does not reflect accuracy.

CobbGOPer

March 27th, 2012
5:09 pm

“We wanted Senior members of the legislature on it…”

In other words, the people with the most to lose if the status quo is flipped. I’m real sure something useful will emerge from this committee… [eyeroll]

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 27th, 2012
5:11 pm

Apparently Walgreens had a sale in N Miami.

Phil McGroin

March 27th, 2012
5:19 pm

Is obama really putting out campaign hoodies? pathetic.

What was tayvons twitter handle?

Halfrack

March 27th, 2012
5:20 pm

Due to a lack of ethics; they can not get outsiders on the committee to make recommendations for positive change. There should be nothing to hinder cleaning up what gifts the Legislature should and should not accept with the proper amount of ethics. AJC should post on its front pages what these scoundrels rake in from these lobbyist. The general rule among Legislators is: We know Congressman Top Cat is being bribed but he lets me be bribed some too.

Sonny Perdue

March 27th, 2012
5:21 pm

Ethics are over-rated. I cannot ever recall the subject ever coming up.

So what’s all the Hub-Bub, Bub?

Wondering

March 27th, 2012
5:22 pm

Has Balfour found a sponsor for the Ethics and Accountability study committee retreat? I understand their are some nice golf courses in Scotland.

Rural Education

March 27th, 2012
6:34 pm

We don’t have any ethics,and we don’t need those outside liberals to try and give us any.

Beth

March 27th, 2012
7:14 pm

Balfour is the one who tried to make the HPV vaccinations mandatory on our little girls. He is in Big Pharma’s pocket! He needs to go! What a joke!!

pic-r-pockets

March 28th, 2012
1:43 am

Gee – how did they miss putting Chip Rogers and Jack Murphy on the study committee? Must be “saving them” for the investigative committee. Gotta wonder if all the hub-bub about abortion and “illegals” isn’t to TAKE the FOCUS OFF ETHICS.

[...] the Senate Rules Committee amended McKoon’s legislation creating a legislative study committee on … and appointing seven members, none of whom are name “Josh [...]

E. Denise Caldon, Georgia Whistleblower v BOR

March 28th, 2012
10:09 am

“The Fox is guarding the Hen House” comes to mind with years on record of no ethics or fiscal accountability by our state government and “good government civilians” not being allowed in the study committee. They should, at the very least, be allowed to sit in on the meetings. Just as critical in the passing of HB 397 is the assurance that Attorney General Sam Olens can no longer exempt himself from “Open Records” in the cases he and his office defend. Attorney General Olens’ recent filing on 2 February 2012 of his latest “Response in Opposition” to the release of documents that confirm serious ethical and fiscal violations by his defendants – the Board of Regents of the USG – is one example of many. If, in fact, the “hidden agendas” by our state’s higher education system – in place for years – and their attorney, our “Open Records” advocate, Attorney General Sam Olens, are prohibited in the new HB 397 rules, then we applaud our elected officials for its passing. Only time will tell – and it will.